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Jerusalem Church Leaders Speak on Easter

“So, as we celebrate the Resurrection we must be more diligent in searching for the light and in using it to build a better tomorrow for all of us, Palestinians or Israelis, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Druzes.”
This is the voice of the patriarchs and heads of local churches in Jerusalem as they spoke on Easter.
Below is a copy of their Easter message:

* * *

Sisters and brothers here and in all the world, we greet you in the name of our Risen Lord and ask God to fill you with the joy and the strength of the resurrection.

Having opposed early Christians and, indeed, sought to bring many of them to trial for their faith, St. Paul was suddenly challenged by our Blessed Lord as he journeyed to Damascus. Within a short time he became a powerful messenger for Jesus. Reading his various epistles we see he has much to say on many aspects of the Christian faith.

The statement he sets before the Philippians is regarded by many people as the most powerful: "All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings."

In this short sentence he links the cross and the Resurrection. The sufferings he had to face for his faith lead him to become conscious of the power of the Resurrection given to those who truly believe, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yet again, recent months have shown us much of the hardships and sufferings people have to endure, not least in this land. Much of this burden has arisen from man's inhumanity to men together with the deprivation of basic human dignity and rights, all caused by the siege imposed upon us.

Our Blessed Lord challenges all of us; if we are to be his disciples we must take up our cross and follow him. In the midst of sufferings, we reach for the power of the Resurrection and the power of the Spirit that enables us to take away the oppressions that are imposed upon us.

So, as we celebrate the joy of Easter we must examine carefully where we stand in relation to God. Many of us need to abandon the selfish instinct within us. If we truly seek the power of the Resurrection in our lives, then we must disregard any idea we might have of self-sufficiency or worldly hopes that hide from our eyes the things of heaven and of the Spirit.

If we believe in the Resurrection, we must affirm that our security is with God and in the power of the Resurrection. Again St. Paul reminds us when writing to the Corinthians: "But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Despite our weakness and despite the unjust circumstances imposed upon us, the power of God can free us if we come to understand the logic of the Spirit in us and if we behave accordingly.

On the first Good Friday, the disciples of Jesus doubtlessly felt shattered. However, gradually their faith was restored as they became conscious of their Risen Lord. Their own personal darkness of fear and uncertainty was suddenly illuminated by the light of Jesus' resurrection.

So, as we celebrate the Resurrection we must be more diligent in searching for the light and in using it to build a better tomorrow for all of us, Palestinians or Israelis, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Druzes. We search for the light that comes from God, illuminates all creation, guides every true believer in his search to find God's freedom for all, together with his peace and justice.

As we greet our sisters and brothers across the world, we wish them the joy of Easter and the power of the Risen Lord in their daily lives. While conscious of the care and concern shown by many of you, we again ask for your particular prayers for this land, that God will guide all its governors and show them the path of justice and equality among all.

Pray for the newly formed Unity Government of the Palestinians together with the Israeli Government and the Arab Initiative, to work to remove fear and all oppression, the walls, the barriers and the prisons, so that hearts become full of trust and all can enjoy the same freedom and the same dignity.

Then we would ask that you make a particular effort to encourage your particular nation to stop the embargo imposed upon us and to restore its aid to the Palestinians. Many vital areas of community are in a desperate plight as a result of the withholding of this aid, not least [among them, areas of] justice, economy, medicine and education, etc. …

As all Christians across the world celebrate Easter together we wish everyone, at home and abroad, that joy which our Blessed Lord's resurrection brings. We ask God to bestow upon all the joy and the power of the resurrection so that the words of Jesus become real as he said: "I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
May you experience a happy and holy Easter!

Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem

Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem
Patriarch Michel Sabbah, R.C. Latin
Patriarch Torkom I Manooghian, Armenian Orthodox

Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land
Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox
Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian-Orthodox
Archbishop Abouna Mattias, Ethiopian Orthodox

Archbishop Paul Sayyah, Maronite
Bishop Suheil Dawani, Anglican
Bishop Munib Younan, Lutheran

Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian-Catholic
Archbishop Georges Michel Bakar, Greek Catholic
Father Rafael Minassian, Armenian Catholic


 
LIVES OF THE SAINTS

NOVEMBER 1
ALL SAINTS' DAY
This feast day grew out of the love and devotion of God's people. 

NOVEMBER 2
ALL SOULS' DAY
This feast day is one of the most loving celebrations in all the Church's liturgy. 

NOVEMBER 3
ST. MARTIN DE PORRES
St. Martin was born in Lima, Peru, in 1579.

NOVEMBER 4
ST. CHARLES BORROMEO

St. Charles lived in the sixteenth century. He was the son of a rich Italian count.

NOVEMBER 5
ST. BERTILLA

St. Bertilla lived in the seventh century. The first biography of her life appeared in Latin in the year 800.

NOVEMBER 6
ST. THEOPHANE VENARD

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NOVEMBER 7
ST. WILLIBRORD

St. Willibrord was born in England in 658.

NOVEMBER 8
ST. GODFREY

St. Godfrey lived in the twelfth century. He received his education from the monks of Mont-Saint-Quentin. Godfrey became a monk and a priest.

NOVEMBER 9
ST. THEODORE TIRO

St. Theodore lived in the third century.

NOVEMBER 10
ST. LEO THE GREAT

St. Leo, a Roman, lived in the fifth century. At the death of Pope Sixtus, he became pope.

NOVEMBER 11
ST. MARTIN OF TOURS

St. Martin, the soldier saint lived in the fourth century.

NOVEMBER 12
ST. JOSAPHAT

St. Josaphat was born in the Ukraine and baptized John in 1580.

NOVEMBER 13
ST. FRANCES XAVIER CABRINI

St. Frances was born on July 15, 1850. As a child growing up in Italy, she dreamed about being a missionary to China.

NOVEMBER 14
ST. LAWRENCE O'TOOLE

St. Lawrence was born in Ireland in 1128. He was the son of a chief.

NOVEMBER 15
ST. ALBERT THE GREAT

St. Albert lived in the thirteenth century. He was born in a castle on the Danube River in Swabia (southwest Germany).

NOVEMBER 16
ST. MARGARET OF SCOTLAND

St. Margaret was an English princess born in 1046.

NOVEMBER 16
ST. GERTRUDE

St. Gertrude entered a convent in Saxony when she was very young.

NOVEMBER 17
ST. ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY

St. Elizabeth, the daughter of the king of Hungary was born in 1207.

NOVEMBER 18
ST. ROSE PHILIPPINE DUCHESNE

St. Rose labored for Jesus in the United States. She was born into a wealthy French family in 1769.

NOVEMBER 19
ST. NERSES

St. Nerses lived in fourth-century Armenia. He was an official in the court of King Arshak.

NOVEMBER 20
ST. EDMUND

St. Edmund was an English king who lived in the ninth century.

NOVEMBER 21
PRESENTATION OF MARY

When she was only three years old, the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken to the Temple.

NOVEMBER 22
ST. CECILIA

St. Cecilia, the patroness of music lived in early times. What we know about her goes back to the fourth century.

NOVEMBER 23
ST. COLUMBAN

St. Columban, the most famous of the Irish missionary-monks, lived in the seventh century.

NOVEMBER 23
BLESSED MIGUEL AUGUSTIN PRO

Blessed Miguel Pro was born in Guadalupe, Mexico, in 1891. He was destined to become a martyr of the twentieth century.

NOVEMBER 24
ST. ANDREW DUNG-LAC AND COMPANIONS

Christian missionaries first brought the Catholic faith to Vietnam during the sixteenth century.

NOVEMBER 25
ST. CATHERINE LABOURE

St. Catherine was born Zoe Laboure in 1806. She was the daughter of a French farmer.

NOVEMBER 25
ST. CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA

St. Catherine lived in early Christian times. She was the daughter of a wealthy pagan couple of Alexandria, Egypt.

NOVEMBER 26
ST. JOHN BERCHMANS

St. John, the Belgian saint once said, "If I do not become a saint when I am young, I shall never become one.

NOVEMBER 27
ST. JAMES INTERCISUS

St. James was a Persian who lived in the fifth century. He was a great favorite of King Yezdigerd I.

NOVEMBER 29
BLESSED FRANCIS ANTHONY OF LUCERA

Blessed Francis born in 1681, was nicknamed Johnny as a child. He was the son of an Italian farmer.

NOVEMBER 30
ST. ANDREW

St. Andrew, like his brother, Simon Peter, was a fisherman. He became a disciple of the great St. John the Baptist.

 
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Tour of the Relics of the Passion
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REFLECTIONS

“Jesus’ Baptism”

Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven, submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust and submission to God?

 
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